James Brown

Try Me

Song Review by

James Brown fans raised on "Cold Sweat" and "The Payback" might be surprised by this mellow soul ballad, which gave Brown his first R&B chart-topper. Like his previous hit "Please Please Please," the song was a lover's plea set to a mid-tempo R&B melody. However, "Try Me" was a subtler and more melodic affair. The lyric avoided the emotional begging of "Please Please Please" in favor of a more seductive approach, complete with lines like "hold me by your side" and "your love we will not hide." The music underlines the plea with a melody that ebbs and flows in a way that gives the song a gentle, soulful swing. James Brown's recording of the song brings the song's romantic feel to life with a sax-driven arrangement that utilizes staccato piano lines and a steady beat to keep the song moving forward. It also works in a short but catchy instrumental break where the saxophone and rhythm guitar trade lines before intertwining to create a pulsing, staccato riff. However, the true highlight of "Try Me" is the gospel-inspired vocal interplay: Brown delivers an impassioned but surprisingly delicate lead vocal while the Famous Flames back him up with smooth harmonies arranged to form a call-and-response style with his lead. The result made an ideal slow-dance number for sock hops and its blend of soul of slickness took it to number one on the R&B charts. "Try Me" also made it into the Top 50 area of the pop charts, paving the way for future crossover hits like "I Feel Good." The song remains a favorite with soul fans and has popped up consistently in Brown's live shows over the years.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Please, Please, Please 1959 Chronicles / Polydor 2:33
Try Me! 1959 Chronicles / Polygram 2:34
Greatest Hits [Rhino] 1985 Rhino
20 All-Time Greatest Hits! 1991 Polydor 2:30
Tribute to Black Entertainers 1993
Various Artists
Columbia 2:36
Soul Pride: The Instrumentals 1960-1969 1993 Polydor 3:06
Art Laboe's 60 Killer Oldies 1993
Various Artists
Original Sound Entertainment 2:30
40th Anniversary Collection 1996 Polydor 2:31
Latin Oldies, Vol. 2 1997
Various Artists
Thump Records 2:32
Golden Hits [Galaxy] 1997 Galaxy Music 5:22
East Side Story, Vol. 12 1997
Various Artists
East Side Records 2:32
20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection: The Best of James Brown 1999 Mercury / Polydor 2:34
Rock N Roll Party Hits 2001
Various Artists
Columbia River Entertainment Group 1:54
Juke Joint Saturday Night 2002
Various Artists
Malaco 2:33